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Week 11- The Two Towers, Chapters1-3

Discussion in 'Bookclub' started by Shouldabeenadog, May 8, 2022.

  1. Shouldabeenadog

    Shouldabeenadog Order Member

    Sep 3, 2010
    Chapter 1 starts on a downbeat, and the whole opening follows that line.
    In the movies, Boromir's fate is revealed at the end of Fellowship, and it provides a great set peice to end on. In the book, we stumble upon his dying body through Aragorn's eyes. Its a sudden drop in the tone. And that is then followed by 2 chapters of "where are merry and pippin" only to get our hopes crushed again by Eomer the Marshall.
    I want to draw attention to Boromir's funeral song that the Aragorn and Legolas sing. I again wished for more here. Gimli declines to sing his part, and from what we read in the Hobbit, song-making is a well cherished dwarven activity, so it seems odd to me that he would decline.
    Additionally, I would like to point out that Gimli is now the new high priest of the church of galadriel, and treats any blasphemy as a personal insult. Eomer finds this out the hard way, and has a great line: "So many strange things have chanced that to learn the praise of a fair lady under the loving strokes of a Dwarf's axe will seem no great wonder."
    Its not until chapter 3 that we see Merry and Pippin, and then again we are let down, as we determine that this is the past from their perspective, and that we may be headed towards their death. Only to be damn impressed by the hobbit ingenuity. First we see pippin free his arms, then drop the brooch, then trick Grishnakh, and then use his freed arms to get them to the forest safely.
    Merry is not as useful here, and serves more to show how Orcs treat their injuries, which is apparently with scar-forming ungent and moonshine.

    I am uncertain if the books or the movies made the right call in where to place boromir's death. Leaving it in the Fellowship wraps up that story neatly, and gives the sundering of the fellowship a character death to mark it. On the other hand, leaving it in two towers opens the book with a much darker tone. Here is yet another death, and at the outset, how many more will die? But film needs a climactic scene, and books don't have to, so I think they made the right calls for their respective mediums.
    But what are your thoughts?

    next week is Chapters 4-5 and then the following week 6-8.
  2. LostInThought

    LostInThought First Year

    Sep 10, 2011
    I would agree that the placement of Boromir's death fits the different mediums: In the books, it allows the reader to catch up to the characters and provides us with a slower plot start than we would have had if the orc chase had started immediately. It also has the added benefit of a cliffhanger in the first book (Boromir tried to take the ring, what is going to happen with his arc?). On the other hand, a death this early in a movie seems wrong to me somehow and would probably have negative effect on pacing.
    However, while I watched the first movie after finishing the first book, I haven't ever watched the second, so jury's still out on how I will like the beginning they actually show...

    Fun little sidenote: When I finished the first book, my husband, who has watched the movies, tried to talk with me about Boromir's death - which was a spoiler for me since it's been so long since I had read these books the last time! Turns out it wasn't too spoilery, though: The first chapter of the second book is actually titled 'Boromir's death'. Didn't expect that.

    I also have to admit that I wasn't too sad to see Boromir go. The whole first book, I had trouble separating all the members of the fellowship: Boromir vs Aragorn vs Legolas and Merry vs Pippin. With smaller groups, I can now hopefully keep better track on who's saying what. Although I still had trouble with Aragorn vs Legolas in their discussions during the chase, so maybe not.

    The whole time the fellowship was near the waterfall, I was tense that someone would accidentally go down there. Seems like that was not the case because everyone is just too good with boats.

    Still don't like the songs at all. I hope they are not too relevant, because I skim them very much. Same goes for the route descriptions. I tried, but keeping track of all that landscape description and compass directions just distracts me from the story.

    In general, the pacing continues to be incredibly slow, especially after just watching the first movie. I know that the characters feel a lot of time pressure, but the emotion does not translate to me as a reader. I think it's because of their conversations, which often feel long and calm to me, especially if Aragorn is involved.

    I enjoyed having a chapter about Pippin. Somehow, I was not worried for these two hobbits at all and was just curious how they would manage to escape. I thought the Orc healing was interesting, but didn't quite get why they did not just carry the prisoners the whole time. Oh, and I was surprised by how meta Merrin was when telling Pippin that he would get a chapter in Bilbo's book.

    Regarding the Rohirrim: I really hope that at some point we will get humans which are not beautiful. And are still on the good side.

    Finally: Thank you for keeping these threads alife.
  3. Shouldabeenadog

    Shouldabeenadog Order Member

    Sep 3, 2010
    I agree that Boromir gets short shrift in the Fellowship. He exists mainly to be the critic for Aragorn, and to be the advocate for the wrong path. Which is fine, but i really get the feeling that Boromir is more a plot device for what will come later than actual a character.

    Not easily to the leaves of Lothlorian fall, and apparently this goes for leaf shaped boats also.

    I actually see a good point in your comparison of losing Aragorn to both Legolas and Boromir. He strides between the elf world and the human world, so it makes sense that he could be confused for both. I doubt it is intentional but its a good point.

    The songs are actually reminiscent of Indian Theater, where the song is reflective as opposed to generative. I.e. The song of Boromir tells the story of his life, but doesn't push the plot forward (See any song from Slumdog Millionaire or Bahuubali), whereas a musical number from American theater progresses the plot (Defying Gravity, Let it Go).

    I agree, pippin had a great chapter and I loved it. I didn't catch how meta Merry was about that, good find. I like that.

    I will not spoil you.

    I'm too stubborn to not finish this. Thank you for joining the Fellowship. May we last better than our namesake.